Au man, we had amazing diving on Protea Banks.
From 10.1. until 14.1. we had our scientist friends returning to continue with their hammerhead research and counting.
Protea Banks delivered this time.
The current came back with a vengeance and pumped a hectic 2.5 knots.
Also the visibility became perfect at top to bottom 30m +
The water temp was 26˚ on the top half and 24˚ bottom half.
And we saw hammerheads everywhere and all the time. Especially on the last day we estimated 2000 - 3000 easily.
On 15.1. Beulah and i were booked to fly to Germany to get ready for our tenth year at BOOT Show.
We did have a booking of 15 American Divers which worried us a little but we thought, our staff can handle them.
Then i got an e mail saying that they all want to dive in the same spot at the same time so they can take pictures of each other with sharks in-between.....
When i saw this i immediately changed my ticket.
Beulah flew off as planned as she needed to get our stand ready and manned from today onwards. My brother Guenter and his wife Simone helped her and got off to a great , successful start.
I on the other side had to make sure we get these Americans safely in and out of Protea Banks.
We had 2 boats and each boat had 2 guides from our side.
To make matters worse, the weather took a downturn. It was windy like hell and the worst case scenario was that instead of the booked 6 dives they could possibly only do one dive.
So we were well prepared on day one and got everybody our swiftly to do a baited dive.
My boat lost the bait bucket in the rough sea which broke the steel cable and went into the abyss.....oh dear, oh dear.
The sea was shit-rough. There was not one American who was not sea sick.
Spike and i had a good giggle.
But the guys dived well, truth to be told. One guy needed to be rescued by Karen and another one got washed off the group for a couple of hundred meters. Thanks to Spike's alertness, he spottet the unlucky soul and brought him safely back on board.
The sea was nasty and this guy was lucky.
We managed to get a second dive in that day. Only half the divers joined on this dive.
And it became one of the best dive ever !!!!!
A Blue Marlin swam right into our group. All this at 30m vis !!! Brilliant !!!
Then we had school after school of hammerheads, estimated at 500 - 800
Some Great Hammers, 5 Bullsharks, 6 Guitarsharks, Black Tip, Dusky and Devil ray.
What a day. Definitely worth for our guests to come here for.
Yesterday weely only managed to get one dive done.
Similar conditions and sightings as above.
Today we were blown out.
A strong Southwester started at 8pm yesterday , blew through the night and all day today...pity.
But we gave our friends a magic faerietale like diving experience on the magnificent Protea Banks. For sure !!!
Tomorrow i now have to fly into the freezing Germany and show my face at the BOOT
I am looking forward to seeing all my diving friends, regulars and all the nice people we always see there for the last 10 years.
I am also looking forward to see my parents, sister, brother etc.
This year we will go to Bern in Switzerland as well as Zuerich after the BOOT is finished. We are with Dive and Travel in Switzerland and hope we can do good business with our partners.
It's only...that i don'y really want to go to the cold world when we have such a wonderful summer and such brilliant diving.....ou man...
I honestly did not realise that i have not written anything yet this year. That proofs that the new year is moving at an even faster pace than usual... damn.
I was hoping this year will be a bit slower so we can live a bit longer...
Well, since the first of Jan things have changed a lot.
At first the diving on Protea Banks was difficult.
We had a lot of ice cold water , mediocre visibility and nothing to see but the Raggies in the caves.
In fact, the water was so cold from the constant North East Wind that there was a serious build up of dead seaweed at our launch site. It became so bad that we needed our tractor to get through and launch into the water. Those who did not have their own tractor had to pay a hard dollar for help...
Almost every day we ended up with one dive only. Divers were freezing and stormed our after-dive-buffet for hot coffee and a great sandwich which we offer daily free of charge.
And then, 4 days ago it all came together.
The current returned at a rate of 2 knots and with the current came the sharks.
We suddenly encountered hundreds and thousands of hammerheads. From one day to the next.
Wonder where they all waited for this ???!!!!!
Yesterday Steve Woods and i wend alone on rebreathers. Man, this was epic !!
We did 2 dives of 60 mins each and the two of us were in paradise !!!
We carefully estimated 2000 hammerheads, it probably was double that !!!
They just kept coming...
Then there were Great hammerheads, Black Tips, Bulls, Guitars, Duskys, Eaglerays and Devilrays.
Visibility a happy 25m - 30m and a pleasant temp of 24˚ at the bottom and 25˚ at the top.
This was the day i was waiting for since i came back from our holiday.....
Old Steve reckons, it was definitely the best dive he ever did...!!!
That's a huge statement and a brilliant compliment to Protea Banks.
Tomorrow the scientists will be back for another round of hammerhead counting.
We will be out at sea for the next 5 days diving our hearts out and hopefully get a good estimate of the numbers of sharks around.
The next step in the future will be to find out where they come from and where they go to.
This will involve tagging the buggers which has its own challenges doing so...
I think we stand at the very beginning of serious research into sharks on Protea Banks. This is a process which will have to last for several hundreds of years in order to make real sense.
I am privileged to be a small part of the very beginning....Brilliant